It made me realize that some of the other things I do every day may seem a little ... weird ... to someone just getting started with inbound marketing. For instance, business blogging. What is it? What's the difference between regular blogging and business blogging? And why do we do it? What's the goal of it all?
Oh baby, I can talk about this all day! But I'll keep it short. :-) And if you're currently employed as a full-time business blogger, maybe bookmark this for future family gatherings ...
What Is Business Blogging?
Business blogging is a marketing tactic that uses blogging to get your business more online visibility. That definition raises two questions:
What is "blogging," though? I still don't know what blogging is!
What do you mean by "online visibility"?
Let's start with question number one. Blogging is the act of creating short-form content. A "blog post," is posted to your website's "blog" -- a part of your website where you house all of those posts. For example, you are currently reading a blog post -- a piece of short-form content that has been posted on a blog.
It's also important to note that when you're doing business blogging, your blog posts are about a particular subject matter related to your business. For instance, HubSpot is an inbound marketing platform, so our blog talks about inbound marketing topics -- using Facebook and Twitter for business, email marketing, business blogging, etc. Your business blog will talk about subject matters that are related to your business.
Now on to question number two -- defining "online visibility." Online visibility is exactly what it sounds like -- being able to be found and seen on the internet. This could mean your business pops up a lot in search engines, on social media, on other people's blogs as a guest writer, etc. Business blogging is one way to help get your business out in front of people looking for your products or services on the internet.
How Is Business Blogging Different From Regular Blogging?
Plenty of people have personal blogs, or even blogs that bring in money through selling ad space. But business blogging is different than all of that, because your blog is neither 1) a hobby, like many people's personal blogs, nor 2) the primary way your business makes money -- because heck, at that point your blog is just your entire business!
Instead, a business blog is a marketing channel (just like social media, direct mail, email marketing, etc.) that helps support business growth. It does that by driving traffic to your website and providing opportunities for that traffic to convert in some way. Traffic for various businesses might convert differently -- some aim to turn traffic into leads to hand over to a sales team, others may aim to convert traffic into customers via an online transaction -- but ultimately, business blogging will initiate conversions that drive more business.
Why Should Businesses Blog?
This could be an entire blog post of its own, but I'll try to keep this brief, if only for the purpose of helping better define what business blogging is.
To make your website a valuable marketing asset, you need people to actually see it. Other than people just typing in your website's URL (which is pretty unlikely to happen for most businesses), there are a lot of ways people can see your website -- and one big way your website can be found is through search engines.
The more pages your website has, the more chances you have to rank in search engines. The problem is, you don't just want to throw up random web pages all over your site. That would be a terrible user experience, and your site would quickly become a total mess. Business blogging is a solution to that conundrum. Every time you post a new blog post on your website, you have a new web page on your website, and it's all housed under your blog so your website doesn't get cluttered with pages here, there, and everywhere.
So, every time you publish a blog post and create a new web page, you create one more opportunity for your site to rank in search and appear for the queries people are entering into search engines. So when someone asks Google something like, "how to generate leads on facebook," hopefully one of HubSpot's blog posts will show up! (And it does -- we currently hold positions 1, 2, and 3 for that search term, two of which are blog posts.)
You can apply this logic to other digital channels, too. For instance, every time you publish a new blog post, it's one more opportunity for someone to share that post on social media, getting it out in front of a new audience. It's also one more opportunity for another site to link to your post, giving you some great SEO juice.
In short, business blogging is a low-cost way to create opportunities to get your website found by the people that you want to find it, so you can generate new leads and customers for your business.